Summer is around the corner, which means so are great events and activities on Mackinac Island. Explore our list for updates across the island, ranging from new exhibits at Mackinac State Historic Parks to restaurant grand openings just in time for summer.

Find all things Mackinac Island including restaurants, lodging, what to do in one day and more!

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Arch Rock on Mackinac Island

Photo by Mackinac Island Tourism

How to Get to Mackinac Island

Getting to Mackinac Island is one of our favorite parts about visiting. Simply take I-75 to the ferry docks in either Mackinaw City in the Lower Peninsula or St. Ignace just over the Mackinac Bridge in the Upper Peninsula. From there you’ll board a ferry via Star Lines Mackinac Island Ferry or Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry. Remember to purchase tickets in advance. Addresses, phone numbers and website links are below. Both companies resume their full schedule to and from the island on April 21, 2023.

Mackinaw City to Mackinac Island Ferry Dock Information

Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry
801 S. Huron Ave. | (808) 638-9892

Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry
556 E. Central Ave. | (231) 436-5023

St. Ignace to Mackinac Island Ferry Dock Information

Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry
587 N. State St. | (906) 643-7635

Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry
601 N. State St. | (906) 643-9440

Mackinac Island Ferry Updates from Shepler’s & Star Line

Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry Updates
Officially opened as of April 21, Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry will be offering service to Mackinac Island from St. Ignace or Mackinaw City. Additionally, they will be offering destination-based cruises including 4th of July cruises, night sky cruises, lighthouse cruises and private charter cruises.

Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry Updates
In addition to daily service, Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry will also be offering Pirate Ship Trips, 4th of July Cruises, multiple-day tickets and more. Their newer hydro-jet service is a great option for those looking to get to Mackinac Island fast!

Is Mackinac Island Open?

You can expect most restaurants, businesses and hotels on Mackinac Island to be fully open for the summer starting on May 1. This year the island is celebrating being named the #1 Island in the Continental U.S. by Travel + Leisure, 125 years of the motorized vehicle ban and the 75th annual Lilac Festival. If you’re looking for a special reason to visit the island, 2023 might just be the best and most exciting year yet.

For more island updates, head to the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau website before your visit.

Sunrise view on Mackinac Island

Photo by Mackinac Island Tourism

Mackinac Island Restaurant & Shop Updates for 2023

Wawashkamo Golf Club’s 125th Anniversary | As one of Michigan’s oldest golf courses, visitors can play through history on the links-style golf course located on the grounds of the Battle of 1814. This summer there will be an official celebration on August 3 to 5 commemorating the history of the course.

Pink Pony’s 75th Anniversary | A Mackinac Island favorite, The Pink Pony, is also celebrating a 75th anniversary this year. The iconic restaurant will debut a special 75th anniversary logo featured on staff uniforms, pint glasses, and more items available for purchase at the Pink Pony Store and online. Be sure to try a specialty anniversary drink and keep an eye out for announcements about a celebration in the fall.

Doud’s Main Street Debut | Patrick Doud’s Irish Pub is making its debut on Main Street this season. Fifth-generation islanders Andrew and Nicole Doud are celebrating the history of Mackinac Island’s original founders by dedicating the pub to Patrick who built the building where the pub resides, as well as many others on the island.

Fort Mackinac Renovations | Fort Mackinac’s Post Commissary building is being renovated to serve as the new home for the Fort Mackinac Museum Store. A temporary theater will reside in the former museum store featuring The Heritage of Mackinac movie.

New Fully Accessible Building | Mackinac Island State Harbor will be welcoming a new, fully accessible building just off the east end of Main Street complete with new bathrooms, showers, and a laundry facility available to people using the harbor’s boat slips. The project, being led by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, is expected to be completed later this summer and will open in late July.

Horse and carriage ride on Mackinac Island

Photo by The Pink Pony

Mackinac Island Festivals & Events for Summer 2023

Mackinac Island Lilac Festival | June 9 to 18
Mackinac Island is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Lilac Festival commemorating the island’s signature blooms, many of which were planted over two centuries ago. This year’s 10-day celebration will include a parade, a 10K run and walk, daily walking tours, line dancing with the West Michigan Bootscooters, and more. The island will also welcome back many beloved events throughout the season, including the annual Fudge Festival, Fourth of July Fireworks Display, W.T. Rabe Stone Skipping Contest, Bayview Mackinac Race, Chicago Yacht Club Race To Mackinac, and more.

4th of July on Mackinac Island | July 4
From the annual fireworks display starting at 10 p.m. to the W.T. Rabe Stone Skipping Contest, 4th of July is better on Mackinac Island. Explore the events calendar to see how you can make the most of your 4th of July weekend on the island.

Mackinac Island Fudge Festival | August 25 to 27
Known for its famous fudge, Mackinac Island is the perfect host for a fudge festival. Running through the last weekend of August, you can expect to see family-friendly events, demonstrations and much more. If you’re a Mackinac Island fudge lover, this festival is for you!

Explore more events on the Mackinac Island website.

Sunrise view on Mackinac Island

Photo by Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau

What’s New at Mackinac State Historic Parks

History has never been more fun! Grab your kids and head straight to the Mackinac Straits to meet pirates, redcoats, lumberjacks and more.

STEAL AWAY ON A PIRATE SHIP | Shiver me timbers! As if riding the ferry to Mackinac wasn’t exciting enough, Tuesdays through Saturdays, from June 20 to Sept. 5, you can choose to ride Star Line’s pirate ship The Good Fortune to or from the island. Go ahead and dress up like a pirate for the ride—and bring along your best and loudest “arrrrr!” Beyond regular trips to Mackinac Island, The Good Fortune also sets sail on special private cruises.

CHEER ON REAL LIFE LUMBERJACKS | At Mackinaw City’s Jack Pine Lumberjack Show, audience members are divided into rival logging camps—the Mill Creek camp versus the Mackinaw City camp—and they cheer wildly as “their” lumberjacks scale cedar poles, race across floating logs and send wood chips flying.

COLONIAL MICHILIMACKINAC, MACKINAW CITY | The grounds of this 18th-century fort are abuzz with costumed interpreters. See British soldiers giving rifle demonstrations and firing the fort cannon while voyageurs and merchant families offer craft and wood-fire cooking demonstrations. Kids can even search for a bone or a bullet in the ongoing archeological dig that happens each summer within the fort walls.

HISTORIC MILL CREEK DISCOVERY PARK, MACKINAW CITY | History and outdoor adventure come together here. Watch a reconstructed sawmill in action, climb the five-story Treetop Discovery Tower, teeter across the forest canopy bridge or fly over the creek on a zip line.

FORT MACKINAC, MACKINAC ISLAND |  Though the real action at this fort ceased in 1885, its 14 original historic buildings still echo with the sounds of military pomp thanks to costumed interpreters. Hear the wicked crack of a rifle fired by a 19th-century American soldier and quick-step to the gun platforms to catch a cannon-firing demonstration (or reserve your spot to fire the morning’s first cannon volley! Must be at least 13; $75).

View the Mackinac State Historic Parks website for additional updates and information.

Image of the new pool area at Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island.

Mackinac Island Hotel Updates for 2023

Mission Point Resort is debuting a complete renovation of the Main Lodge lobby to create “Mackinac Island’s Newest Living Room” complete with revitalized décor, new furniture, revamped bell stand operations, and more. Round Island Kitchen has also undergone major enhancements of the patio deck seating and renovations of the interior space.

Chippewa Hotel has upgraded in-room technology, added new mattresses, updated bathrooms, and is working on other enhancements such as fresh paint and revamped flooring.

Grand Hotel is introducing a range of updates across the property including Cedar Grove, a new BMX track, miniature golf at The Gem, and a new greenhouse. It will also celebrate the grand opening of Mackinac Island Pizza Co., expanded outdoor seating at Woods Restaurant and The Jockey Club, and some exciting interior decor updates.

The Inn at Stonecliffe will remain closed for the 2023 season while work on an extensive renovation is underway. Stay tuned for updates on the project and when reservations will be open for 2024.

Island House Hotel’s Ice House BBQ and 1852 Grill Room are welcoming refreshed spaces, including new floors and updated menus, and the hotel has completed renovations to corridors and will be streaming a new documentary telling the story of Island House Hotel in all rooms.

Lilac Tree Suites will be debuting their newly upgraded front desk and lobby area this season and has also focused on cosmetic updates over the winter including upgrading showers.

Image of the new pool area at Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island.

Photo by Mission Point Resort

Photo(s) by Mackinac Island Tourism